Monday, February 05, 2007

Rachel Cohn is my HERO

Ok, so this past year I discovered Rachel Cohn and I am in love. True love.

First off, she wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist with David Levithan, and y'all know I'm also in love with him.

So... this is a fun book chronicling the madcap adventures of one night told in alternating points of view. Levithan wrote Nick's chapters and Cohn wrote Norah's. Nick is the only straight member of a queercore band, and sees his fairly recent ex-girlfriend come into a show he's playing with a different guy. In order to pretend it doesn't bother him, he asks Norah to be his girlfriend for 5 minutes.

Norah needs to get her drunk best friend back to New Jersey and figures Nick's good for a ride. She also sees an ex she wouldn't mind pissing off. So she kisses him. And so begins a night of falling in and out of love and running around New York City.

Unshelved also did a great book talk of this.

It's sweet and fun. Cohn and Levithan's writing styles work amazingly well together-- it's hard to tell that the author keeps changing. The characters are fun and although many of them aren't very fleshed out, instead of seeming flat, they appear to be like everyone else you randomly meet one night as you follow Nick and Norah on their non-date. I liked it a lot.

But, I liked Gingerbread even more (and it's one of my top picks for 2006).

I know she would probably hate me when she met me, but I really feel like Cyd Charisse and I could be best friends. I want to be her best friend. (No offense to my current friends-- you'd like her too! Promise! We could all hang out and drink coffee and eat cupcakes!)

So, Cyd just got kicked out of her posh east coast boarding school and sent back to San Fransisco to live with Nancy (her mother) and Sid-dad (her step-father). Storming around the house and generally causing trouble, it's a tense situation. The only things that liven it up are her surfer boyfriend Shrimp, her old lady pal Suger Pie, and Shrimp's brother's coffee house Java the Hut. But then she gets confined to her house for bad behavor and Shrimp thinks they need to go on a break.

Cyd finally goes to New York City to be with her biological father, Frank-dad, and to meet the half-siblings she's never known, Danny and lisBETH.

The beauty of this book is Cyd-- her outlook on life and how she views the people in it. She's cynical and hilariously funny and really, I think she would hate me, but I want to be her best friend. This is a book I couldn't put down and I had already picked up the sequel before I had even finished the first book-- I knew I would want to read it.

Which brings up to... Shrimp Cyd's back in San Fransisco and she and Shrimp have some... issues to work out-- like Cyd's crush on his older brother. But Nancy and Shrimp are starting to get along? Maybe? And Shrimp's parents are back in town, at least for a bit. The best part is that Cyd finally makes some female friends! Helen and Autumn (who Shrimp may or may not have had some fling with while Cyd was in New York) are welcome additions to the cast of characters and...

Lack of Helen was the main flaw in Cupcake which finds Cyd living in New York with her brother Danny. I also really missed her little brother and sister as well as Sid-Dad. The new characters of Mold and Max are great and this book will make you crave cupcakes like NO ONE'S business. I had to make a special batch just to meet my cravings. (FYI-- devils food cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting? Both from How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food? Simply divine!)

Cohn's other YA novel is Pop Princess. This tells the story of the rise of a pop star one summer and how she deals with the fame and the death of her sister and the strain that caused on her family. This wasn't nearly as good as Gingerbread et al. but was fun. The ending was totally predictable but one I was rooting for anyway.

Cohn also has two books for slightly younger readers. In The Steps Annabel is off to Sydney, Australia. This was not her idea and doesn't sound like fun--she had a perfectly lovely winter break planned in New York, thank you very much. But Annabel's dad has remarried and lives in Australia now with his new wife, two kids from her first marriage, and their new baby. Annabel's mission? To bring her dad back to the US where he belongs. With her. Of course, it doesn't end that way and we have several heart-warming moments about the meaning of family. On the cover of the edition I read, there was a very helpful family tree because there are a lot of crazy relationships!

Two Steps Forward finds everyone in LA for the summer where it turns out that maybe we didn't learn all the necessary lessons last time around. This one's different because every chapter is told from a different point of view, instead of Annabel's not-always-reliable vantage point. I think I liked this one better than the first one.

1 comment:

Abby said...

I just discovered Rachel Cohn, too. I tried to read Gingerbread last year and for some reason, I just couldn't get into it. Now, I have no idea why because I just devoured the whole book in one day and can't wait to read Shrimp.